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West Virginia CIO Josh Spence Moving to Private Sector

West Virginia Chief Information Officer Josh Spence will be departing to a role in the private sector later this month. He will be replaced by another executive from the West Virginia Office of Technology.

Headshot of West Virginia CIO Josh Spence wearing button up shirt and jacket over white background.
West Virginia CIO Josh Spence
Government Technology/David Kidd
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced during a briefing today that state CIO Josh Spence will be leaving the role for the private sector later this month.

As of July 29 Heather Abbott will take over as state CIO, the governor said in an announcement.

Spence has been serving as CIO since July 2021, when legislation elevated him from the chief technology officer position as part of a technology modernization effort. The new role enabled Spence to create a committee to oversee state IT projects and provide IT training to the various agencies.

“He’s done incredible work as our first appointed state CIO leading the Office of Technology and modernizing our state’s technology, and I know that he will continue to do incredible work wherever his career takes him,” Justice said, referring to him in the briefing as “a superstar.”

Some of this work includes overseeing significant infrastructure modernizations, such as new data center capabilities. As he previously told Government Technology, this project was intended to modernize and increase the security and resilience of on-premise infrastructure.

In the cybersecurity space, Spence championed early cyber laws in the state, and currently serves as cyber operations officer with the WV Air National Guard, where he has 23 years of service.

Abbott has been serving as chief operations officer with the West Virginia Office of Technology for the past five years. In this role, she has assisted with the state’s IT operations. Prior to that, she gained over two decades of experience in various roles in the public sector in different West Virginia agencies. She started her government career with the state’s Department of Transportation and has served with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

“I’m proud to appoint Heather to this role, and I am confident she will do a wonderful job,” Justice said.